Just as the last chapter directly addressed new moms, this chapter directly addresses new fathers. It’s a rather short chapter, and does repeat some of what was said in the previous chapter. However, a few things are unique.
Mark E. Crawford directly addresses that fathers may feel left out of new parenthood – it may seem as though their wives have made the transition easily, whereas they struggle a bit more. However, it is made very clear that it is important that fathers participate as much as possible in the process. Crawford summarily dismisses the argument that taking care of the children is women’s work, and advises men who think that way to ditch this book and look for a book on having an amicable divorce.
So, let’s say you’re sold on the idea that you should be getting involved – what’s the best way to go about it? Crawford provides a few helpful tips, such as thinking of new parenthood as going back to school – be open to learning as much as possible. Also, don’t get offended or take things personally if your wife or partner tries to correct the way you go about doing things. Gently remind her that you’re learning and that you need to develop your relationship with the baby, just as she has.
Crawford also reminds new fathers that though their wife is now a mother, she is still an adult with social needs. She may have given up quite a bit of her social life to care for the child, especially if she was previously working and is staying at home. Do what you can to give her a break and encourage her to send time with her friends. It may also help her to seek out women going through the same experiences as her – there are many new mom’s groups available, if none of her friends have had children lately.
All in all, though this is a short chapter, it’s full of great advice – it’s definitely a must-read for soon to be fathers or new fathers!
Join us next week as we discuss Chapter 7: What Happened to Sex?